Every 20 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes. That could be a friend, family member, co-worker — or even you. 26 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 79 million more are at risk for developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes, which can be inherited or caused by obesity and other factors, is the most common. It is also the most preventable.
On June 23, hundreds of riders and volunteers came together in Pittsburgh to help raise awareness and fight the disease. The American Diabetes Association’s annual Tour de Cure is a cycling event with rides ranging from an eight-mile family fun run to a 100-mile challenge. Money raised from the event goes to fund research and awareness.
I ride each year — and volunteer for the organization — because of the impact diabetes has had on my family and my life. The ride is always inspiring for me because we pedal side by side with “Red Riders.” These riders currently have or have had diabetes. It’s an honor to be a part of an event that’s doing so much good for so many people.
On this year’s ride, I met a man who shared his story of overcoming diabetes. Three years ago he was 100 pounds overweight and newly diagnosed. This man decided not to let the disease win and took control of his life. He improved his nutrition and began exercising. Today, he is at a healthy weight — and completely off his diabetes medication. He no longer has the disease.
This story stuck with me for the rest of the day. As it turned out, the pack I was riding in became lost in the middle of Mercer County. We were about 50 miles off course from where we were supposed to be. We had to turn around and ride in the opposite direction to get help from a support vehicle.
The whole time, I kept thinking about how it’s never too late to get back on track. Just like the man who lost 100 pounds and overcame his diagnosis of diabetes, it’s always an option to turn around and head back in the right direction.
Maybe you or someone you know has or is at risk for type 2 diabetes. If so, you can partner with your doctor and start on the road to a better life.
This year’s Tour de Cure reminded me of a quote by Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” It’s never too late to change direction. Regardless of where you are now, you can decide today to turn around and get back on track!